If you are a student, having a part-time job which helps you pay your way through is just par for the course. And it’s tough, dividing your time between a job and the efforts of studying for your qualification. In some ways, it’s a rite of passage that prepares you for the reality of a full-time job, and in some cases will actually be harder than when you can dedicate all your time to just one thing instead of having to split your time between two totally different activities.
However, there are some tips to follow to make the whole part-time-job-while studying affair just that little bit easier to manage:
Always remember why you are doing this: you have a part-time job to support yourself while you complete the qualification which will be the stepping-stone to the rest of your career. Not the other way around.
That means that if your part-time job ever starts to get in the way of your studies, then something is wrong, and you need to make some changes.
“There will be times when it’s a bit of a balancing act, and no one is doubting that having that job is a vital part of your organization: money is central to what you are trying to do, after all. But don’t rule out finding something else if things start to get hard and that job starts to get in the way of what you are really trying to achieve. In short, prioritise,” says Keith Angelino, a lifestyle blogger at Britstudent and Australia2write.
Find work that suits you and your timetable
This links back to prioritising, but you must find a job that fits in around your studies, not the other way around. If your study time is quite flexible, then think about the times which are most conducive to studying: when are you at your most productive? Then try and find a job that frees up that study time, so you can hit maximum efficiency. Having a late-night job which means you are exhausted in the mornings – too exhausted to study – isn’t going to get you anywhere. Always put your studies first – there will be other jobs!
Be kind to yourself
University days are famed for involving the burning of candles at both ends, but it will catch up with you. Not only will your health suffer, but your grades will too, so make sure you grab r & r time with both hands when you get the opportunity.
“Treat yourself to a nice meal and an early night whenever you can, and make sure that you eat and sleep properly in general. As soon as this part-time job and study routine starts to infringe on these vital considerations, then you know it is time to make a change,” advises Miranda Watson, a blogger at WritemyX and NextCoursework.
Do a job you enjoy, or that adds value somehow
You may argue that there is not much choice when it comes to part-time work, and you may be right, but never stop looking, even when you are in a job, because something better might just be out there.
Better, how? Well, for a start, imagine getting a job that is actually related to your studies, so you are getting practical experience in what you are studying (be sure to check in with your careers service to see if opportunities like that are available and known to the university). Alternatively, better might just mean more enjoyable, more sociable, more helpful to others, or more educational from a life perspective. This time shouldn’t just be about making money, just as your full-time job shouldn’t be when the time comes. Life is too short to do jobs that add nothing to your, or anyone else’s, life.
Think about commuting, and your safety
Avoid jobs that involve a long journey to and from work, as well as jobs that mean you have to take lonely bus journeys or walk in unlit areas. Once again this is all about prioritizing. This part-time job is a means to an end, so never put yourself at risk. And try to have a little fun as you go along!
Katrina Hatchett is a marketing blogger at AcademicBrits with a particular interest in the art of communication. She is a regular writing contributor at OriginWritings, as well as a blogger at PhDKingdom.